[The sample photos in the video slideshow are very grainy when viewed on full screen. To see better versions please click here. If you are viewing this from Palau/FSM everything that is in the above video is in the text below.]
Who Am I?
I am David and I lived on the island of Angaur, Palau during my Peace Corps service from 2002-2004. I returned and stayed with my former host family from December, 2012 to February, 2013 to photograph each of the families on the island. The community suffered significant damage in early December from Super Typhoon Bopha so I decided to do this portrait project as a meaningful, personalized form of aid.
What Is the Project?
The residents of Angaur have few or no photos of themselves. Nobody has a computer, so digital cameras are not used. Film is expensive and can no longer be developed anywhere in the country. I photographed every family on the island (plus some environmental portraits) and will send them prints in April. Every family was photographed in front of at least two backgrounds: their house and banana/coconut/betelnut trees. In addition, I did about 10 environmental portraits of unique/special people on the island.
How Will the $2000 Be Spent?
I will print the photos on my professional Epson printer using Red River Paper's glossy paper. I'd like to provide at least one enlargement for each family, but hopefully a few. The enlargements will be laminated to protect against insects and humidity. I will also print some smaller sizes that the families can use to mail to their relatives abroad (U.S, Philippines). If we exceed the funding goal I will upgrade the enlargements and print more photos!
Postage costs will be significant, however, due to an agreement between Palau and the U.S, I can pay U.S. domestic rates to get packages to Palau.
To see a larger sample (about 30% of the total photos I intend to print), please click here.
What You Get!
For a $15 contribution I will choose one of my Palau aerial photographs and mail it to you. For contributions of $25+, you can choose one of my Palau landscapes and I'll print it on Red River Paper. Also included with $200 contributions is one of five shell necklaces handmade by the kids of Angaur (see photo below). Photos will be placed inside a clear plastic envelope with a mat board for rigidity. 17x25" prints will be mailed in a tube. If you prefer matte paper instead of glossy, please let me know. Note: 8x10 and 11x14 photos will actually be printed as 8x12 and 11x17 to give you more framing options. Take your choice of these photos:
Handmade shell necklaces that come with a $200 contribution:
Angaur is the most isolated island in Palau's main archipelago. It is seven miles south of the last island within the main reef, Peleliu. It is a raised coralline atoll that used extensively for phosphate mining in the early 20th century. A major WWII battle took place on the island, as well.
Currently ~130 people live on the island permanently. There are two small stores and twice weekly ferries to Koror. The school has 27 students spread across eight grades. The average annual income is $4000-$10,000, though most are on the low end of that scale. Gas costs $7/gallon, spam is $3.50/can. Coconuts, betelnut, papayas, and mangoes are free. The best surfing in the country is on the west side of Angaur. Invasive monkeys (crab-eating macaques) outnumber humans nine-to-one. The best jobs are at the power plant (diesel-fueled generator), school, and state office. There are five Filipino domestic helpers and construction workers who are paid $2/hour. (They will get photos, too.)
The Angaur people are very hospitable and friendly despite not having much in the way of material possessions or money. I think this project is a special opportunity to provide a lasting gift to a beautiful little community that most people will never know exists. They will thank you for your gift, I promise. :)